Date Nut Banana Bread

Spelt’s protein content is similar to that of pastry flour, and therefore, is the perfect grain to use to make a delicious, light, and flavorful banana bread.

After weeks of craving banana bread, I finally made it! Not only that, but I made it with spelt flour I milled on my small mill that attaches to a kitchenaid stand mixer. The mill I have is called a Mock Mill and I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to mill their own grains at home.

Date Nut Banana Bread

  • 1½ cups spelt flour
  • ¼ cup flaxseeds (ground)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 small/medium bananas (mashed (some chucks are fine))
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅓ cup coconut, date, or raw sugar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (toasted (I used walnuts and pecans))
  • 1 tablespoon coconut, date, or raw sugar (for the top)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 4½x8inch pan with oil or butter.

  2. Mix the spelt flour, flaxseeds, baking soda, salt, and spices in a bowl.

  3. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas.

  4. Add the eggs, sugar, olive oil, and vanilla to the bananas.

  5. Add the banana mixture to the spelt mixture and stir until the flour is just blended in. Mix in the nuts and dates until evenly dispersed.

  6. Pour the batter into the loaf pan, sprinkle the top of the loaf with the tablespoon of sugar, and bake for 50-55 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the bread comes out clean.

I cut up the loaf and keep it in the freezer for easy access to banana bread whenver I want. Defrost in a toaster oven or on a skillet over low heat.

Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread

There are debates about what should be in a ‘traditional’ Irish soda bread, but this is the way I have always made it.

The recipe first came from the local newspaper, but I have altered it over the years to my liking. Soda bread is leveled with baking soda (and baking powder sometimes) rather than yeast, which makes it extremely easy and quick to make. Hope you enjoy.

Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter (cold, and cut into 1/2 inch piece)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup raisins
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 inch circular pan, or an 8 inch cast iron skilelt with butter or oil.

  2. Mix the flour, 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.

  3. Add the cubed butter to the flour mixture and massage with your hands into the flour until the largest pieces of butter are the size of peas.

  4. Add the raisins to the flour mixture and mix to coat the raisins (this allows an even suspension of raisins throughout the bread)

  5. Add the buttermilk and mix until no flour streaks can be seen.

  6. Transfter the dough to the prepard pan and sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown and knife inserted into the bread comes out with no crumbs sticking to it.

Butternut Cashew Pasta Sauce

Shoutout to JP who wanted this recipe. Here is a picture of him about to enjoy it.

Butternut Cashew Sauce

  • Servings: 2 quarts of sauce
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Ingredients

  • 1 small butternut squash or 2-3 medium large sweet potatoes, cut it half long-wise and seeded (about 2-3 cups of squash)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups broth, vegetable or chicken
  • ½ cup cashews
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ground
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
  • 2 teaspoons, plus 1/4 cup sage leaves
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a pan with parchment paper. Slice your butternut squash in half and remove the seeds. Roast the squash, cut side down on your parchment lined pan for 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted slides through easily
  2. In a heat proof measuring cup, pour 1-2 cup boiling water over the cashews and let it sit for 1 hour.
  3. Remove the skins of the cooked squash, and place the flesh in a blender
  4. Strain the cashews, and add the cashews to the blender
  5. Add the remaining broth, vinegar, nutritional yeast, salt, black pepper, nutmeg, and 2 teaspoons sage leaves.
  6. Blend until extremely smooth.
  7. Pour 1 quart of sauce over your favorite pasta sauce. In a small pan, heat up oil and toast the 1/4 cup sage leaves until crispy. Top the pasta and sauce with the crispy sage leaves.

Pignoli Cookies

My dad’s all time favorite cookies. We only make them during the holidays and the yearly wait is well worth it.

I hope you enjoy this simple, yummy recipe. If you run out of pine nuts like I usually do, chop another nut up and use that instead (pistachios are great).

Pignoli Cookies

  • Servings: a lot
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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs almond paste (3 boxes)
  • 1 1/2 cups raw sugar
  • 1 cup raw powdered sugar
  • 4 egg white
  • 3 cups pine nuts (if you don’t have enough, another nut like pistachios or almonds will be yummy too)

Directions

  1. Preheat an oven to 350 F. Line 2 pans with parchment paper
  2. Combine all ingredients except the pine nuts in a mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix until thoroughly combined.
  3. Roll tablespoon sized balls. Place the pine nuts and in a bowl and roll the balls of dough around on the pine nuts until coated.
  4. Space the cookies at least 3 inches a part and baked for 15-20 minutes until lightly golden around the edges.
  5. Allow the cookies to cool on a rack once out of the oven.

About Me

My goal is that within this blog you’ll find inspiration to reduce your food waste in fun, accessible, and easy ways. When I was seven years old, I was introduced to utilizing food waste when I started helping make wine with my dad and his friends.  Although, at first, I only attended these long days of laborious tasks because I would get a cream filled donut and a cup of decaffeinated coffee, I grew to love them. I was able to see the progression of our endeavor, from the grape to the bottle, and enjoyed the community of friends that we formed. Once the wine was bottled, the skins, pulp, seeds, and stems (also called the pomace) were leftover. My dad would take the pomace and make grappa, a clear grape-based brandy. Grappa is an exemplary zero waste product.  While I didnt know it  then, this concept of lowering food waste would follow me throughout my life.

A few years after I corked my last wine bottle, you’d find me in high school working at Cherry Grove Farm, a small raw milk cheese, meat, and egg farm in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.   I worked countless hours per week, got stepped on by pigs, and peed on by cows. Despite this gruesome work, I loved it. At Cherry Grove Farm, my appreciation and view of food changed even more dramatically. The hard work that we poured into the food we ate made every bite more delicious. My attentiveness to food waste grew from my work there. We used rotational grazing to feed our herds of cows and heifers. The vast amounts of whey produced from cheese making was fed to the pigs. Goats were used to browse the overgrown areas. I slowly realized how little was wasted day to day.  Even the cracked eggs were fed to barn cats instead of tossing them in the trash. 

My inspiration for sustainability and food waste has grown since I last milked a cow. I’ve continued my education in Culinary Arts & Food Science, with a focus in Food Science at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA. And I’ve gotten involved in other companies and organizations that hold the same values as me. About 30-40% of the food supply in the U.S. goes to waste which makes every little step we can take to reduce our individual waste have the potential to make an impact on climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. It is exhilarating to discover delicious uses for things people usually throw away. For instance, banana peels are edible, cauliflower greens are delicious, and carrot tops make a wonderful pesto. Education and inspiration is all most people need to highly utilize the food they buy. With Cook Clever, Waste Never I hope you find your own motivation to generate change, and make some new, delicious food along the way.